Lemon Custard Ice Cream

"This recipe comes from the historic Old Salem Tavern in Winston-Salem, NC. No word on whether or not this frozen treat was served to George Washington when he visited (though I doubt it). This recipe is a bit involved, but I think you will agree it is worth the effort. This ice cream is especially good with gingerbread."
photo by Bev I Am photo by Bev I Am
photo by Bev I Am
Ready In:




  • First, make the custard. Simmer half-and-half and cream in a saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Whisk yolks until light in color. Add sugar. Whisk together. Whisk warm cream into egg mix slowly. Put into a heavy saucepan. Heat and stir until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. DO NOT simmer or boil the egg and cream mixture, as it will scramble. Cool to room temperature. Add vanilla extract. Refrigerate for about 5 hours.
  • Next, make the lemon curd. Put butter, sugar, lemon zest, 2 1/2 cups lemon juice, and salt into a double boiler. Heat until melted and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs. Slowly pour hot mixture from step 3 into eggs while whisking. Place the egg mixture back on the double boiler, whisking continuously. DO NOT simmer or boil. Cook until thickened.
  • Strain the curd and cool completely to room temperature.
  • Finally, assemble the ice cream. Run refrigerated custard mixture through an ice cream maker until it reaches soft serve consistency. Fold in the cooled lemon curd (which should be about 3 1/2 cups) and the 3 ounces of reserved lemon juice. Cover and freeze until very firm.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This ice cream delivers a lot of lemony flavor. However, I suggest eating it straight from the ice cream maker when at it's peak flavor. Somehow after freezing, this ice cream loses its creaminess and the flavor and texture become grainy. Out of the ice cream maker the taste is "knee-buckling" good ; )
  2. This custard-based ice cream is smooth, creamy, tart, and delicious! We have a Meyer lemon tree in our yard, and my mom and I both absolutely LOVE lemon custard ice cream! However, the reason I give this recipe 4 stars is because while it is an absolutely wonderful lemon ice cream recipe, it is a bit strong on the lemon flavor. And when I say this, you should realize that lemon ice cream is my favorite type- I wouldn't call it strong without a reason! I will take note of Bev's post, though, and try it after it has been in the freezer a day or two - perhaps this will tame the flavor! Overall though, I'm not complaining; thanks for a tasty recipe, Todd! We'll be making this again.... just not as much lemon juice in the curd. ;-)


I am a lecturer of U.S. history for a local university. Since my life is busy, my recipes tend to be quick, easy, and inexpensive.
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